Boston, MA — Cancer immunotherapies and targeted therapy have revolutionized how clinicians take care of patients with advanced skin cancer and have led to long lasting treatment responses for many of them. However, little is known about the survival impact of these therapies for a substantial group of patients. Melanoma patients with cancer that has spread to the brain have been excluded or underrepresented in clinical trials of immunotherapies due to concerns about whether such drugs can cross the blood-brain barrier or will interfere with other forms of treatment. A new study led by investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital evaluates data from more than 1,500 cancer programs across the country to gather a large enough dataset to determine the effectiveness of checkpoint blockade immunotherapies. The study found that these therapies provided significant improvements in overall survival for patients with melanoma brain metastases. Their results are published this week in Cancer Immunology Research.
“Our findings build on the revolutionary success of checkpoint blockade immunotherapy clinical trials for advanced melanoma and demonstrate that their substantial survival benefits also extend to melanoma patients with brain metastases,” said corresponding author J. Bryan Iorgulescu, MD, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pathology at
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